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Express: May prepares for EU standoff as she REJECTS ECJ’s ‘outrageous’ Brexit demands

Date: 03 07 2017

No chance! May prepares for EU standoff as she REJECTS ECJ’s ‘outrageous’ Brexit demands

AN “outrageous” new demand by the EU that it continues to rule Britain after Brexit through the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has been rejected by Theresa May.

A new set of policy papers by the European Commission have revealed that Jean Claude Juncker and his fellow eurocrats want to continue to impose their will on Britain through legal rulings and fines from the ECJ.

Brexit campaign groups have branded the EU’s approach to the talks as “irrational” and warned that if Brussels does not withdraw its unreasonable demands on giving a foreign court jurisdiction in Britain then the Government must walk away from the talks.

Senior figures in the EU have seen the election result in the UK where the Conservatives failed to win a majority as an opportunity to try to force through a deal which in effect means Britain is still controlled by the the EU.

But last night the Brexit Department reiterated that ending the ECJ’s power in Britain is a red line in the negotiations.

A Department for Exiting the European Union spokesman said: “We are studying these technical papers in detail and look forward to discussing these issues, among others, at the next round of talks in July.

“We remain ready to engage with the Commission to discuss how we achieve a deep and special partnership with the European Union.

“We are clear that a phased process of implementation will be in the mutual interest of the UK and the EU.

“But we’ve also been clear that the direct jurisdiction of the ECJ in the UK must come to an end. The design of an implementation period will be addressed in the negotiations.”

However, influential Brexit campaign groups have argued that the UK must now be prepared to walk away.

John Longworth, co-chairman of Leave Means Leave, which is supported by 45 Tory MPs and MEPs, said: “It is outrageous that the EU is trying to bind Britain to the ECJ even after we have left the EU.

“When we leave the EU, we leave the ECJ and they will not be able to fine us for failing to fulfil their petty demands anymore.

“By behaving so irrationally the EU are pushing Britain closer to walking away from the negotiating table.”

He warned that the EU elite and sections of our own political and business establishment are “hell-bent” on making sure that we get a bad deal and thereby thwarting Brexit.

He added: “I urge the Government to make it clear to the EU that this is not even for discussion – once we leave Britain will no longer be subject to the ECJ.”

Another leading campaign group, Conservative Progress, which represents other pro-Brexit Tory MPs, said: “This has to be a red line and Michel Barnier needs to understand that ECJ jurisdiction is completely unacceptable post Brexit. Britain must show that it is willing to walk away from the talks unless this demand is taken off the table.”

Among the demands published this week were that Britain accepts case law in the ECJ up to the point of departure and then accepts that the court’s foreign judges can continue to interpret them in Britain.

It said: “All rulings given by the Court of Justice pursuant to the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement are binding on the Union and the United Kingdom, and are enforceable in the United Kingdom.”

And it wants Britain to accept being fined by the ECJ for breaches of EU law as a means of continuing to take British taxpayers’ money and handing it to cash strapped Brussels.

And it has said that Britain should have to accept EU regulations on all its imports from Europe after Brexit and not be allowed to ban products from the bloc which were allowed in the UK before Brexit.

The document said: “Any good lawfully placed on the single market before the withdrawal date can, after that date, continue to be made available on the market of the United Kingdom or on the single market under the conditions set out in the relevant Union law on product rules applicable at the withdrawal date and circulate between these two markets.”

The Commission document, drawn up for chief negotiator Michel Barnier, also insisted that the so called transitional period before Britain leaves should see Britain subject to the ECJ.

It stated: “As regards any transitional arrangements providing for the continued application of [European] Union law, future case-law of the Court of Justice intervening after the withdrawal date should also be taken into account in interpreting those provisions of Union law.”

It added: “All rulings given by the Court of Justice pursuant to the provisions of the withdrawal agreement are binding on the [European] Union and the United Kingdom, and are enforceable in the United Kingdom.”

The demands over the ECJ are also holding up a deal on providing certainty for EU citizens in Britain and British citizens in the EU.

A “fair and serious” offer by Mrs May to give all 3 million EU citizens in the UK a special settled status protecting their current rights has met opposition in Brussels because she refuses to allow the ECJ to dictate to Britain.

Despite Mrs May receiving support from several other heads of Government, Mr Juncker is using the issue as a means of forcing Britain to accept rulings from a foreign court.

Ending rulings from the ECJ in Britain was one of several red lines identified in Mrs May’s Lancaster House speech.

She also insisted that Britain will leave the single market and customs union, must be able to set up its own free trade agreements, and end free movement from the EU.

July 1st, 2017: Express